November 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts November 2001 Current Issue
November 2001

When a Colleague Grieves

imageA colleague who has suffered the death of a loved one needs the patience, understanding and sympathy of co-workers to get through a difficult time. Advice on what to say and do can be found at, from which the following was gleaned.

AVOID PLATITUDES. Share a happy memory of the deceased, if appropriate, and extend your sympathies simply and sincerely.

WATCH YOUR TONE. Don’t be overly solemn or excessively chipper.

LISTEN. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel, do not attempt to change the subject if your colleague voices sadness and pain.

BE SUPPORTIVE. Recovering from a loss takes time. Over several months, continue to ask the colleague how she is coping.

ADJUST THE WORKLOAD. Managers should consider easing responsibilities temporarily, if possible, for a grieving employee who finds it hard to concentrate. On the other hand, for those who find it easier to keep busy, offer new projects and responsibilities.


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